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on August 21, 2004
This book was an absolute godsend for the birth of my second child. It allows you to reclaim your natural power as a woman and allows you to trust your body to do what it was made to do. I have given and recommended copies to any pregnant woman I meet! Quite graphic, naked pictures, but if you really want to get to grips with what you need to do to really prepare yourself for labour this is IT. Wonderful. I had a pain-free home birth and a most satisfying experience. It cannot of course, guarantee that you will have the birth you want but it will instruct you to be as prepared as you can for one of the most important events of your life.
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on November 18, 2008
...Read this book! And if you're crunched for time, at LEAST read chapters 6-8, which discuss labor and after the birth (breastfeeding). Balaskas is SPOT on with her descriptions of how labor feels and what happens to your mind and body during the different stages of labor. She also gives great pain-coping techniques and lots of talk about positions for labor and delivery. I read chapters 6-8 three times before the birth of my second child. If you are afraid of birth or pain, even MORE reason to read this book--it will empower you and give you confidence.

One humorous note: you don't have to give birth naked, nor have your husband naked behind you like many of the pictures in her book show. I was quite comfy in my hospital robes with my comfortably-clothed husband.
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on November 27, 2005
This book was by far the BEST book and approach to having an aware, powerful, confident birth experience. It didn't try to teach me tricks (mostly useless) to avoid the contractions and pain, but instead taught WHY we have contractions, that they are HEALTHY and GOOD, and how to work with them. Embrace them! Your are bringing forth new life. What an opportunity to participate in a miracle. Don't miss it! Read this book!
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on January 10, 2013
This is a book that every expectant woman needs to keep in her library. That has been my intention since the mid-eighties, when my birthing journeys began. My 'Active Birth' has been handed around enough times I have lost track of its whereabouts. So pleased it continues to be updated and published today, I now give it as a gift once 'an announcement' has been made and have received notes and calls of sincere thanks from those women and men whom it has been gifted to, following the birth of their child.
A compulsory read for both mother and father, 'Active Birth' truely prepares you for your birthing experience like no other.
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on January 5, 2014
I read "New active birth" just in time for my labor! The yoga postures were really great - in fact, they were 90% the same as the ones we practiced during my prenatal yoga classes, and this really worked for me to feel centered and focused during birth; however, I would question how easy it is for someone not familiar with basic yoga poses to start doing them from a book rather than a class, where the teacher can correct your pose if needed.If you already practice yoga though, this is very helpful.
There was also a very complete and informative chapter on waterbirth better than naything else I read on the topic.

On the other hand, as much as I agree with the book's emphasis on natural birth, it is pretty hardcore- there is this paragraph where it says how you can always go for an epidural if you must, but really think twice about it and how much better it is to give birth naturally, the whole guilt trip, which I thought was a bit of a shame; in this respect I liked "Birth skills : proven pain management techniques" better, it felt less judgmental and also more inspirational.

The book goes beyond labor and birth to explain breastfeeding etc which is maybe a little misleading considering the title; all in all, it is an interesting read if you are thinking about a natural childbirth, but I would not read this as the only book to prepare.

It would not have been enough on its own to get me through my natural labor- I personally needed more of a kick/inspiration to go through with it, which I achieved through other books (Birth skills being the main one), other people's stories and prenatal yoga classes.
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on November 17, 2011
I love this book and couldn't put it down the first time I read it! I have re-read it 2 more times and I learned something new each time. Reccommend!!!!
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on November 4, 2011
Excellent book, great pregnancy yoga exercises, good focus on what women can do for themselves to ensure the most natural and healthy birth.
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on March 17, 2014
This book was quite helpful in preparing me for my natural birth despite needing Pitocin I was still able to give birth without an epidural the books yoga positions for hip opening or helpful and keeping in mind the ideas for positions for pushing were also quite helpful I would recommend this book in addition to anything by Ina May gaskin if you are trying for a natural (non epidural) birth. Let's be clear about it. Natural birth is painful, but it is incredibly empowering. I've done it twice now, and both times I was glad. I needed help from the experts though because it would be easy to forget what you really want in the intensity of labor pains during transition. Still, it can be done and it's worth a shot. I believe it's healthier and incredibly powerful to know that you are capable of facing undiluted birth. This book will help prepare your brain and your body.
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on December 10, 2010
My chiropractor was the one to recommend this to me when I told him I'm currently pregnant. The information contained in it is very detailed, scientifically accurate. Their explanation of how other cultures have used different methods and positions to give birth safely is fascinating and really does make sense. I love the exercises, they are easy to understand, I've felt a definite improvement in flexibility and less lower back pain.
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on June 26, 2014
If you only read one book about birthing this should be it. I am so grateful I got to read it and be empowered to have wonderful labours and births. I have bought several of these books and given them to all my pregnant friends! Cannot recommend highly enough.
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